If you are PCSing to an OCONUS location outside of the United States you will most likely fly on board the Patriot Express. The Department of Defense (DoD) announced it will begin rapid, on-site COVID-19 testing for passengers departing Baltimore Washington International Airport and Seattle Tacoma Airport. The testing is done to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and meet requirements of the various countries.
All passengers on the Patriot Express are currently screened for COVID-19 symptoms through a travel questionnaire and temperature checks. As of November 1, 2020, once screened, 10-15 % of those with no symptoms will be administered a rapid, on-site COVID-19 test.
“By implementing rapid, on-site testing for Patriot Express passengers at our BWI and SEATAC terminals, Air Mobility Command is establishing a common baseline across the services to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Brig. Gen. Norman West, Air Mobility Command Surgeon General. “Through our Total Force team, AMC is committed to doing everything in our power to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among our Patriot Express passengers traveling to overseas locations.”
The 10-15 percent of passengers without symptoms selected to be tested will include only one person from a party traveling together. If the passenger tests positive and is traveling with anyone else, the entire party will be referred to a service liaison to set up additional medical care and lodging for the prescribed quarantine. If you have a valid COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your flight you will not be required to take another test. Those with an authorized medical clearance letter are also exempt from testing.
For those selected for a rapid test, military medical personnel will administer an FDA-approved Abbott ID NOW test. The test sample will be analyzed with on-site laboratory equipment and results will be available in about 15 minutes. Results are added into your health records.
If you text positive you will be sent to a medical facility for treatment if you are showing any symptoms or to lodging to begin a quarantine of 10 days if traveling alone. Those traveling together will have a 14-day quarantine with separate rooms to minimize transmission. DoD contractors must contact their employers for guidance. If you are traveling from BWI your medical care, travel and on-base lodging your logistical support will come from Dover Air Force Base. From SEATAC, support will come from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
If you are on a PCS move you will receive the full flat-rate per diem to include the cost of a second room for families to minimize out of pocket costs. For those deploying it will be the full local per diem rate. Travel orders will be adjusted to include the quarantine period.
Medical personnel will check on those in isolation periodically and passengers must be medically cleared before resuming travel. You will not be required to take another test following your quarantine.
Check with your military service for specific COVID-19 guidelines. This will also be available on the AMC Travel Page which will have the latest information about travel during COVID-19. Regardless of service, all military personnel, DoD civilian employees, family members, DoD Contractors, and non-DoD U.S. government personnel entering a DoD passenger facility are required to wear an appropriate cloth face covering, according to an April 2020 U.S. Transportation Command directive.
For additional site-specific information, travelers should contact their aerial port of embarkation.
Baltimore Washington International Airport
AMC BWI Passenger Gateway Terminal – www.facebook.com/AMCBWIPassengerGateway/
Commercial – (609) 253-8825
DSN – (312) 568-8825
Seattle Tacoma International Airport
Seattle AMC Gateway – https://www.facebook.com/seattleamcpassengerterminal
Commercial – (253) 982-3504 or (253) 982-0555
DSN – (312) 382-3504 or (312) 382-0555